Things fell in place for her after a really long time. Her ride was bumpy for close to a decade, but actor Vidya Balan never gave up. She managed to woo everyone with her acting prowess and made a name for herself with her power-packed performances in films such as Parineeta, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani — not to forget her stammering, hearing impaired-geeky character from the TV show, Hum Paanch.
"Vidya Balan is the epitome of growth one would have expected. The audience has accepted her with the movies she has brought to the fore, which is the cinema being made today," says trade analyst Joginder Tuteja.
Vidya didn’t stop at nothing and never shied away from experimenting. She accepted movies that brought her a lot of credibility. Often given a thumbs down for her fashion choices and fluctuating weight, she realised that she had to play her age and not hide who she was — both physically and in personality.
"She realised that the kind of body she has, she can’t carry off western outfits. She then got into the perfect Indian nari avatar and draped the sari, which became her identity," says Tuteja.
Now touted as the ‘face of change’ in the Hindi film industry, the 34-year-old commands anywhere between Rs 2.5cr-Rs 3cr per film. Unlike her female colleagues, who hit the gym to cut the flab and bag lead roles, she has, on the other hand, stood her ground with her curvy presence by accepting non-quintessential heroine roles. Not only this, she made dirty look good in The Dirty Picture.
"She is pretty much going to continue like Julia Roberts even in her late 30s and 40s. Her career is not going to end that soon because she knows what she is doing and where she is going. She is here to stay," says Tuteja.
So, with projects such as Ghanchakkar and Shaadi Ke Side Effects in her kitty, Vidya promises only ‘entertainment, entertainment and entertainment!’
Bhool Bhulaiyaa: Her portrayal of a woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder in this film made the industry sit up and look at her
Ishqiya: Vidya hogged the limelight as a femme fatale. Her fuller, smouldering looks brought voluptuous women characters to the fore in Bollywood
The Dirty Picture: This was the ‘it’ movie in her career, which just opened doors for her into the A-star Bollywood leagueKahaani: Who said homemakers are restricted only to the household? Vidya’s role of an avenging wife in this film sent shivers down one’s spine
Real name: Vidya P Balan
Born on: January 1, 1978 in Ottapalam, Palakkad District, Kerala
First Film: Bengali: Bhalo Theko (2003)
Hindi: Parineeta (2005)
Family: Father: PR Balan; Mother: Saraswathy Balan
Languages known: Vidya is well versed in Hindi, Marathi, English, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam.
They (Southern film industry) made me feel ugly to the point where I was scared to look in the mirror. In retrospect, I thank God.
I was everyone’s favourite punching bag, and I kept thinking, what the hell am I doing wrong?
Vidya definitely has a certain thing for the initials — ‘SRK’. Only this time, it was superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who she could not resist kissing on the cheeks at an award function in 2011. Her partner in crime was actor Anushka Sharma. Well, her ‘dirty’ thumkas went international too, when she shook a leg with Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman on Madhuri Dixit’s Dhak Dhak in Mumbai last year. And this time, her partner in crime was SRK!
* Perhaps her biggest achievement so far has been a National Award for the best actress that she won in 2012 for her dare bare performance in The Dirty Picture.
* While she was being showered with awards and felicitaitons for her performance in the flick, she also bagged another coveted honour, the Phalke Memorable Performance Award for the film.
* Celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar has gone to the extent of positioning her as India’s Meryl Streep in terms of her brand value.
* Good Knight, in fact, selected her for their campaign on the basis of the research that she epitomised dynamism, warmth and caring values that the modern Indian housewife empathised with.
* PepsiCo India roped her for the snack brand, Aliva, because they found her a great match to highlight the brand’s positioning, as she is ‘an accomplished actress, a woman of substance and an affable personality’.
* Vidya was also appointed as the government’s brand ambassador for promoting sanitation in India.
* According to trade expert Komal Nahta, her endorsement fee is around Rs 0.25-Rs 0.5cr per day.
* Her sari clad public appearances impressed a Chennai-based sari brand so much that they signed her a whopping Rs 5 crore.
Vidya’s personal life
Vidya had a clean career in terms of link-ups until she was rumoured to be dating her Kismet Konnection co-star Shahid Kapur in 2008, who was earlier dating Kareena Kapoor. Rumours soon came that the two split because of her possessiveness for the actor. However, the two have never spoken on the alleged link-up. She finally found love in UTV honcho Siddharth Roy Kapur, 38, in 2010, whom she came close to during the shooting of the studio’s film, No One Killed Jessica.
She even hinted during an awards ceremony that she was dating “a certain SRK” before announcing to the world about him in an interview in May 2012. She has been since spotted with him hand in hand at private parties, and vacationing in Goa and abroad.
Rumours are also rife that the two have bought a lavish house together in Mumbai and are tying the knot in December this year.
Tomorrow: watch out for Akshay Kumar’s journey from action movies to comedies to action movies again, in the special series ‘Over The Years’ only in Ht City